How much wind energy does it take to power an average home?

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average U.S. home uses 867 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month. The mean turbine capacity in the U.S. Wind Turbine Database (USWTDB) is 1.67 megawatts (MW). At a 33% capacity factor, that average turbine would generate over 402,000 kWh per month - enough for over 460 average U.S. homes. To put it another way, the average wind turbine generates enough energy in 94 minutes to power an average U.S. home for one month. 

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What materials are used to make wind turbines?

According to a report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory , wind turbines are predominantly made of steel (71-79% of total turbine mass), fiberglass, resin, or plastic (11-16%), iron or cast iron (5- 17%), copper (1%), and aluminum (0-2%). According to the 2017 Wind Technologies Market Report , many turbine components are domestically...

Can wind turbines harm wildlife?

A key challenge facing the wind industry is the potential for turbines to adversely affect wild animals both directly, via collisions, as well as indirectly due to noise pollution, habitat loss, and reduced survival or reproduction. Among the most impacted wildlife are birds and bats, which by eating destructive insects provide billions of dollars...

How many wind turbines are installed in the U.S. each year?

The number of turbines installed in the U.S. each year varies based on a number of factors, but on average 3,000 turbines have been built in the U.S. each year since 2005. Learn more: Wind Energy U.S. Wind Turbine Database

How does the 2017 National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska assessment compare to the nation’s energy needs?

In the 2017 assessment, USGS estimates a mean of 8.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration , the United States consumed 7.5 billion barrels of petroleum products in 2018.

Why is it important to know the locations of wind turbines?

No publicly-available, national database of wind turbines existed prior to the creation of the USGS Windfarm mapper, which was replaced with the U.S. Wind Turbine Database (USWTDB) in 2018. Knowing the location of individual turbines and their technical specifications creates new opportunities for research and improved siting and is important...

How many pounds of minerals are required by the average person in a year?

To maintain our standard of living, each person in the United States requires over 38,449 pounds of minerals each year: 9,426 pounds of stone 6,768 pounds of sand and gravel 655 pounds of cement 142 pounds of clays 338 pounds of salt 244 pounds of iron ore 195 pounds of phosphate rock 34 pounds of soda ash 28 pounds of aluminum 13 pounds of copper...

How much oil does the Bakken Formation produce and how does this compare to what the United States uses?

The USGS does not maintain statistics on oil production or oil consumption. Production information can be obtained from publicly available sources like the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources , and/or the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation . The U.S. Energy Information Administration provides information on oil...

How much water is used by people in the United States?

Since 1950, the USGS has collected and analyzed water-use data for the United States and its Territories . That data is revised every 5 years. As of 2015, the United States uses 322 billion gallons of water per day (Bgal/day). The three largest water-use categories were irrigation (118 Bgal/day), thermoelectric power (133 Bgal/day), and public...
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Date published: May 16, 2018

Mapping the Nation's Wind Turbines

There are more than 57,000 wind turbines across the United States, and a new tool allows you to get up close and personal with each one!

Date published: April 19, 2018

U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Department of Energy Release Online Public Dataset and Viewer of U.S. Wind Turbine Locations and Characteristics

Today, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the American Wind Energy Association, released the United States Wind Turbine Database (USWTDB) and the USWTDB Viewer to access this new public dataset.

Date published: March 9, 2018

Raptor Interactions with Wind Energy: Case Studies from Around the World

Attempts to measure and mitigate the effects of wind turbines on wildlife have been an integral part of wind energy development.

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Image of wind turbine towering over trees
December 31, 2018

Wind turbine towering over trees

A wind turbine rising above Oʻahu trees forms part of a wind energy installation where USGS bat research is taking place.

Wind turbines at the Altamont Pass Wind Farm
September 8, 2016

Wind turbines at the Altamont Pass Wind Farm

The Altamont Pass Wind Far is located in northern California.

Wind turbines
April 8, 2016

Wind turbines

Attribution: Ecosystems
person on a gravel road along side a row of wind turbines
May 18, 2014

Data collection at wind energy facility

A field scientist collecting fatality data at a wind energy facility.

Sandhill Cranes fly in close proximity to wind turbines near Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in east-central Wisconsin.
December 31, 2012

Sandhill Cranes Near Wind Turbines

Sandhill Cranes fly in close proximity to wind turbines near Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in east-central Wisconsin, but to date no crane mortality has been associated with turbines in this area.

Wind turbines on a midwest farm
October 25, 2007

Wind turbines on a midwest farm

Wind turbines and corn crops on a midwest farm. 

Image: Wind Turbine Blade

Wind Turbine Blade

This photo shows one of the three 135-ft blades of a turbine before installation. Although the blades of wind turbines appear to move quite slowly to the human eye, blade tips often move at speeds faster than 100 mph.

Attribution: Energy and Minerals